Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy) addresses the wizarding world. The Ministry is strong despite Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) ordering mass killings of Muggles and his Death Eaters infiltrating the Ministry. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) prepare to complete Dumbledore’s mission to search out and destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes, which contain his soul. Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) informs Voldemort that Harry is leaving Privet Drive.
The Order of the Phoenix escort Harry to safety through the skies on brooms and magic motorcycles, using Polyjuice potion to create decoys of Harry. They are attacked by Death Eaters, and Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) is killed along with Harry’s owl Hedwig. George Weasley (Oliver Phelps) is injured. Arriving at the Weasleys’ Burrow, Harry has a vision of Garrick Ollivander (John Hurt), the wand-maker, being tortured by Voldemort. The next day, Scrimgeour brings Dumbledore’s will. Ron receives Dumbledore’s deluminator, Hermione a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Harry the first Golden Snitch he caught in a Quidditch match. Also, the Sword of Griffindor, though it seems to have disappeared.
The Death Eaters kill Scrimgeour, and he is replaced by Pius Thicknesse (Guy Henry). The Ministry begins to persecute and arrest Muggle-born witches and wizards. Death Eaters attack Bill Weasley’s (Domnall Gleeson) and Fleur Delacour’s (Clémence Poésy) wedding, but Kingsley Shacklebolt’s (George Harris) Patronus Charm warns the wedding party and most escape. Harry, Ron, and Hermione apparate to London but are attacked in a diner. They hide out at Number 12 Grimmaud Place, the ancestral home of Harry’s godfather, the late Sirius Black. The horcrux locket they are looking for is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). They infiltrate the Ministry in polyjuice disguise and retrieve the locket. They apparat to the wilderness to escape, but Ron is injured. They find it impossible to destroy the horcrux, so they take turns wearing it to dilute its power. Harry sees visions of Voldemort. Ron becomes despondent, fights with the others, and leaves. Hermione figures out that the Sword of Gryffindor can destroy horcruxes and goes with Harry to Godric’s Hollow. They visit Harry’s parents’ graves and the house in which they were killed. They meet Bathilda Bagshot, who may have the sword. But she is a corpse animated by Nagini, the giant serpent. Hermione and Harry escape into the Forest of Dean, but Hermione accidentally breaks Harry’s wand in a fight. The mysterious figure in Harry’s visions, she believes, is Gellert Grindelwald.
Harry sees a patronus in the form of a doe, which leads him to a frozen pond. Gryffindor’s sword is beneath the ice. He dives in to get it, but the locket tries to strangle him. Ron appears and saves him. Harry opens the locket with parseltongue and Ron destroys it. They visit Theophilus Lovegood (Rhys Ifans), who explains that the symbol in the book Dumbledore willed to Hermione represents the Deathly Hallows—three objects that give power over death. Lovegood summons the Death Eaters because his daughter Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) has been kidnapped by Voldemort. The trio disappear and the house is destroyed.
Back in the wilderness camp, Snatchers find them. Hermione disguises Harry and they are taken to Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) imprisons Harry and Ron in the cellar with Luna, Ollivander, and Griphook (Warwick Davis). Bellatrix tortures Hermione for info. Harry uses a broken mirror to call for help. Dobby the House Elf (voice of Toby Jones) appears to save them. Harry and Ron save Hermione and Harry disarms Draco Malfoy in a duel. Dobby drops a chandelier on Bellatrix. They apparat to safety, but Dobby has been fatally wounded. They bury Dobby as Voldemort breaks into a tomb and steals Dumbledore’s wand.
The film was directed by David Yates, written by Steve Kloves, and produced by David Heyman, David Barron, and J.K. Rowling. The two parts were filmed back-to-back. Part One was described as a road movie. The wedding tent, the Ministry of Magic set, and the strange Malfoy Manor earned the movie two Oscar nominations for art direction and visual effects. The scene with seven Harrys in it took ninety takes for one shot. Seeing the set for Hermione’s bedroom, Emma Watson said to put more books in it. Evanna Lynch designed Luna Lovegood’s clothing, jewelry, and dance moves. Much of Malfoy Manor was shot at Hardwick Hall, an important Elizabethan country house. Fleur Delacour’s wedding gown was inspired by the Peacock Gown by Alexander McQueen. The scene in which Bellatrix tortures Hermione was an ordeal for both actresses.